Starting with this post, there will be a short series of interviews from players around the world who are participating in the 40th World Amateur Go Championship tournament. First, we would like to introduce Celeste Abat from The Philippines.
Antti: Hi! Could you quickly introduce yourself?
Celeste: Hi! I’m Celeste Abat from Manila, Philippines. I’m 5 kyu, and it’s my second time to play at the WAGC.
Antti: Can you tell us how you qualified for this tournament?
Celeste: The Philippine Go Association in Manila holds a championship tournament every year, and the winner of the tournament gets to represent The Philippines in the WAGC. This year I won the tournament second time in a row, and that’s how I’m here.
Antti: Can you describe how the go scene in the Philippines is right now?
Celeste: We only have one club, the Philippine go association in Manila. We meet once a month, and there are usually maybe ten players present. Last time in the Philippine championship tournament there were 15 participants. We have a small community, but everybody really loves to play go!
Antti: How are your impressions from the WAGC this year?
Celeste: I also participated last year when the tournament was held in Tokyo. Matsue city is a lot more quiet than Tokyo, and I like that there is nature everywhere nearby. This was also the first time for me to see a castle! Both years I’ve had a great experience, and I got to play some exciting games. I also like the international atmosphere, and I’m thinking of participating in the European Go Congress in the near future.
Antti: Is there some reason you like go in particular? How would you promote the game to new people?
Celeste: First of all, go is fun! It’s also played globally, and I feel that it’s a very easy way to make new friends and to get to know interesting people from around the world. Also, I think playing go is good for nurturing your creativity and memory.
I have one tip for spreading the game: we have started to teach children in The Philippines recently, and we found that it’s efficient to use colourful go boards and stones to get the children interested. Once they have fun playing the game, they quickly get hooked!
Antti: That’s a great piece of advice! Thank you for your answers, Celeste, and have a nice tournament!
Celeste: Thank you!